21 May Early Brain Development
Many years of research has demonstrated that high academic, high quality early childhood education produces short and long term effects on cognitive and social development of children. All children should have access to a high quality education program.
Brain Development in Ages 0-5
Children are born with the maximum amount of brain capacity (number of neurons) and must develop those neurons by the end of age five when 90 percent of the brain has completed development. During these years, the brain creates a “wiring path” and connects to the areas in the brain responsible for life, language, thinking, hearing, etc. The strength of the wiring path is dependent on repetition and exposure to new experiences in education.
Think of the first year of life: Infants are able to recognize their mother’s voice, learn to cry and receive food, sit up, roll over, ultimately learning how to walk. During our teacher training we stress the importance of how incredible the first year of life is.
Year two includes the most dramatic changes in the brain. This is a time of “Vocabulary Explosion.” Some say their vocabulary will quadruple during this year. As well as vocabulary and language development, this age group is also learning about themselves and having “self awareness.” They start using the “I” reference and knowing their name. It is pretty fascinating if you stop and think about all of the things children can learn in such a short about of time.
Because the brain develops so rapidly and is so dependent on experiences, this is a crucial window of opportunity to provide positive educational experiences that will result in wiring that leads to life long learning, achievement, and success later in life!